Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(1099)

Jan 30, 2013

Dear Professor Dawkins,

I feel compelled to write to you, as your book has made quite an impact on my life. I myself made the realization that I was an atheist around the age of 15. I am now 18 and majoring in biology as it has also always been my favorite subject in school. I first heard of you in my senior year in high school during a discussion in my Theory Of Knowledge class. My teacher had a small excerpt from The God Delusion – The burden of proof and the example you gave of Bertrand Russell's parable of the celestial teapot. I found it quite amusing and sensible, and saw your book a few months later in an American bookstore on vacation in Utrecht, and remembered the impression it had made on me. Needless to say I purchased it and started reading immediately. Before reading your book I felt alone – I knew no one else who shared my world view, and although my parents were both 100% accepting of my choice (not raising me under any specific religion even though they themselves are protestant), I did not have any friends who were atheist or understood why I decided to go down a “godless” path. Because of this I kept my being atheist to myself, and would often not answer when asked what religion I affiliated myself with in order to avoid heated questioning on why I did not believe in God. I would often also simply reply, “yes”, when asked if I believed in God, when truly I did not. Now that I have read your book, I know that I am not alone, and that atheism is a widely accepted world view, and that many individuals were in the same predicament as myself – stuck in the closet! I now proudly state that I am an atheist and do not affiliate with any religion or personal God of any sort. I can aptly defend myself and my views against questioning, and feel empowered when stumping creationists with lines taken from your book as well as my own rational thinking when it comes to the world and religion. All in all I would like to simply thank you for writing this book. It has helped me, as well as many others, to be free of religion and lead fuller, better lives.

All the best,

Dustin de Koekkoek.
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